Ablative skin resurfacing (Er YAG, CO2RE, Lumenis CO2)

Ablative lasers have been used in dermatologic and aesthetic procedures for over two decades. Ablative lasers are used to generate temporary and controlled wounding of the skin to help stimulate healing and produce youthful, radiant results through natural healing. Multiple forms of these lasers exist, each using a different wavelength of light. Age spots, uneven skin tones, fine and moderate wrinkles, scars, and sun-damaged skin can be repaired using ablative lasers. 

Our board-certified dermatologists at the Northwestern Skin and Laser are world leaders in treatment of aging skin, wrinkles, sun damage, scars, and melasma. Our practice has published hundreds of research papers in this field, and we have over twenty years of experience using these devices. 

What do these lasers treat?

Ablative lasers are the most powerful resurfacing lasers and are able to treat aging skin, wrinkles, uneven pigment and texture, scarring from surgery or acne, and benign (non-cancerous skin growths) such as sebaceous hyperplasia and seborrheic keratoses

How long is the downtime?

The downtime varies based on how deep and intense your treatment is. While lighter treatments may have minimal downtime, deeper resurfacing treatments can take up to one week to allow the skin to heal.

What will I need to do prior to treatment?

We will plan to see you for consultation prior to your treatment. At this time, we will obtain a detailed history and create a treatment plan custom tailored to your individual needs. You will need to avoid sun exposure for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your treatment. 

When will I see results?

Your results will start to become apparent as your skin heals. Depending on the intensity of your treatment, results may last 6 months or up to several years in some patients. We will discuss expected individual results at your consultation based on your treatment needs. 

Ablative laser treatments devices available at our clinic:

Erbium:YAG Laser Treatment

This form of laser treatment is an infrared laser with a wavelength of 2940nm, making it exceptionally good at being absorbed by water in the body. This makes the Erbium:YAG laser a high-precision tool that has the ability to be selective about the tissues being affected. It is gentler and less invasive than chemical peels or dermabrasion and has a short recovery time. This laser is ideal for skin resurfacing, treatment of scars, uneven pigment, and wrinkles. Our single spot Erbium:YAG is able to treat benign skin growths such as sebaceous hyperplasia and seborrheic keratoses.


With a wavelength of 10,600nm, this ablative laser system is perfect for treating all levels of the skin with a high degree of accuracy. Its adjustable nature makes it a favorite option for a broad range of treatments that boost the complexion and help to reverse advanced signs of aging. This is accomplished through a combination of ablative and non-ablative treatments, depending on the needs of your skin and the concern being treated. While treatments involving ablative techniques require longer recovery time, they’re able to produce dramatic results that last.

Lumenis C02 Laser

The Lumenis CO2 laser is the most versatile and powerful CO2 laser produced. This laser is both precise and highly effective for treating a range of superficial and deep resurfacing in both fractional and conventional modes.